With the development of instant messaging apps, such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Kik, Internet users can communicate with each other free of charge. That’s what your kids do on Kik messenger — discuss problems with friends, send funny videos and GIFs to classmates, listen to music, and play games.
One of the reasons why teens prefer Kik over other apps is its poor parental control feature. They can send messages over a Wi-Fi network, knowing that parents won’t be notified about their activity. Although Kik representatives claim that kids aged 13 – 18 need to ask their parents’ permission to use the app, the company provides no adequate age validation. It’s not a problem for teens to enter a false birthdate during registration and freely share details about their private life or send intimate content to each other.
Unfortunately, Kik’s anonymity perfectly works for online predators, too. They can easily create fake profiles with cool Kik usernames, befriend teens, and stimulate them to share intimate content. It’s enough for them to get at least one obscene photo or video to start manipulating a victim and sexually exploit them online on a permanent basis. That’s why parents need to know how to prevent their kids from getting into trouble by monitoring their Kik messenger.
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Kik: Anonymous but Insecure
Kids and teens enjoy Kik friend finder not only because of its features but also due to its anonymity and easy signup process. They can register by entering their first name, last name, e-mail address, birth date, and username. Although Kik Interactive claims to use common age verification standards, they don’t link user accounts to their phone numbers. In fact, a kid aged 12 can enter false credentials to use Kik, while a 40-year-old predator can pretend to be a teenager.
What’s more, the Electronic Frontier Foundation granted Kik 1 out of 7 points in a secure messaging scorecard in 2014. The app received a point for its encryption during transit but failed in providing other security features. For instance, it doesn’t encrypt communications with a key to which the provider does not have access. Its past messages are unsecured if the encryption keys are stolen and its code is closed to independent review.
How Kik Facilitates Child Exploitation
In February 2016, the New York Times posted an interview with U.S. state law enforcement officials who said they ran across Kik sexting and sextortion cases pretty often. The police officers called Kik “the problem app of the moment.” The main concern lied in the difficulty of obtaining information related to child abuse from Kik, as the company doesn’t store photo and video materials from conversations with the purpose to protect users’ privacy.
To assist police in finding missing kids or detecting predators, Kik can give authorities a particular user’s physical location by identifying their IP address. However, the process takes time as the company is located in Canada, and all requests should go through the United States Justice Department. This means that a child can be abused by a predator for a long time until police officers can get all the needed information to find an abuser.
To improve the situation, Kik Interactive started utilizing Microsoft’s PhotoDNA cloud service. The software can detect and report images related to child abuse, as it operates by comparing received and sent photos against the ones stored in a database of exploitative images. However, it doesn’t seem an effective way to identify predators in real-time, as the system may not detect content that hasn’t yet been added to its library.
Although Kik partners with a number of businesses, agencies, and services related to child protection, the most reliable way to detect danger is to see your kid’s Kik messenger with the help of a kik spy tool.
How to Read Someone’s Kik Messages without Them Knowing
As Kik doesn’t offer any effective parental control features putting thousands of children under threat, you need to think about your kid’s online safety. As an option, you can monitor your child’s activity on Kik remotely with a parental control app, such as mSpy.
If you suspect your kid is in trouble because of communicating with online predators, mSpy can help you:
- View your child’s incoming and outgoing messages on Kik right from your smartphone
- Monitor the date and time of each sent and received message
- Use Kik location tracker
- Check out photos and videos shared via Kik
- See contacts on Kik
mSpy app is compatible with most iOS and Android devices. However, if you want to use its Kik monitoring feature, you need to purchase a Premium subscription. After activating mSpy, you can track other messengers and social media apps (such as Tinder, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc.), view visited web pages, read SMS, and track GPS locations. mSpy also makes it possible to record keyboard strokes on your kid’s device, get notification about using restricted words, and use Keylogger to match passwords.
It’s pretty simple to operate mSpy Control Panel. You only need to log in to your account, add a monitored device, and check what your kid is doing online. If you find out that a particular contact or app poses a danger to your child, you can block the person or the app. And don’t forget to set geofences if you want mSpy to notify you when your kid enters or leaves a restricted location.